spear of destiny

Arby’s and Their Brilliant Targeting of Fandom

I don’t think I’ve eaten at Arby’s since I was in college. I liked their little meat and bread balls when I was kid too but never really frequented the establishment much.

Since college, the chain got associated with nerdom as a cheap and easy place to go eat fast food. I wish I knew the mechanics of how that happened but I was too busy being cool and working on the internet in it’s early days to get wrapped up in it.

Fast forward to the days of Facebook being the home for many brand campaigns and you get to the real genius of Arby’s social media marketing. They clearly know their audience and know how to make a connection with that audience.

They have many segments targeted by their content; they have posts for sports people, hunters, and military people. Since I’m a geek, those are the ones I’m going to show you. They got my attention with this ad targeting anime fans. Targeting old-ish school fans at that – Neon Genesis Evangelion is over 20 years old at this point.

Shinji and Arby's

If you get the reference, you understand the 50 shades of awesome that are shown in one picture.

For gamers, they have a few that are really cool but I like this Metroid video created using food wrappers:

Who else caters to fandom well on the internet?

Instagram Hates VPN, Except When It Doesn’t

I have two Instagram accounts that I use to experiment with content and their algorithms. I started running a VPN on my phone after some of the big data breaches as an added layer of security for myself.

With the app update on September 18, 2017, I began to see errors when I tried to like images in one account. I thought it was a fluke, since I could like pictures in one of the two accounts. But after further testing, it became clear that the error pertains to a specific account and only when I have VPN turned on.

It is very interesting to me that one account has the error but my other account does not. I’m using one app on my phone where I’m logged in to both accounts.

I didn’t receive a notification that my account was dinged for any reason, just this pop up after liking a photo:

I submitted a support comment and the issue cleared for a day or two but the pop up showed up again pretty quickly. I’ve complained on Twitter, Facebook, and even Instagram itself to no avail.

Do bots use VPN? Is that why I’m being blocked?

First world problem for sure, but when part of what you do for a living is social media – it makes a difference.

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Updated Site

I’ve finally had time to set up a new domain with a few fancy bits. I’ll eventually load old content here from other pages and sites.

aPlus.net is the WORST hosting company – so glad to be rid of them.

I found a UI bug in HootSuite

It’s not a major issue but I found it annoying. Over the last week or so, I’ve spent a few minutes here and there scheduling some posts for the @fabric_lover twitter feed. I created posts out until October and I’m happy to have that done. BUT I noticed that the posts were not be added to the scheduled stream.

Hootsuit Error

The posts stop after October 24 but I have posts scheduled until October 31. If you so a hard refresh (shift + F5) of your browser, the posts will show up at the bottom of the screen.

 

3D Printing – Do It Yourself Jewelry

The Mr. is a long time Product Designer and artist so we have a TON of equipment for making things in various ways. One of those is a FormLabs 3D printer.

I sort of suck at 3D creation tools – despite my previous history as a sculptor (way back in college) – so I had the Mr. recreate one of my hand drawn designs in AutoDesk Inventor. BEHOLD:

I know – it’s a really simple shape but I could not get it out of my head. I’d been drawing similar shapes in my sketch book over and over – I realized after I perused a few of my old notebooks.

The shape alone would not be wearable so I had to come up with a way to wear it. I decide to make a necklace out of the shape. There were 2 versions. Version one with large chain:

Version 2 on a smaller chain:

I like the look of the smaller chain better but it still needs something…. I can’t decide what to add.

What do you think?

Social Automation: One of the Big Boys

Previously, I shared some of the free platforms for social media automation. Since I have worked [and do work] with really large corporations, I thought I’d share one of the tools I’ve used for social media publishing previously.

Sprinklr is a really great platform – it does social listening, publishing and reporting. The platform is very customizable to fit your own needs. One really amazing tool is the ability to create custom approval workflows for content you plan to publish. As an example – If you have an agency creating your social content for you, you can have them enter the content in Sprinklr and force a set of approvers to review. You can have as many approvers as needed and the approval flow can be set up to be X person and Y person OR X person or Y person.

I’m also a HUGE data nerd, when working on the web, so all the information that is available about your followers and the stats on your posts are a big deal for me. Can you get all the data out of your social media platform of choice, like Facebook or Twitter? Yes – but having it all in one place is the best way to handle it in my opinion.

 

Social Automation

I am a BIG believer in automating social media as much as is possible. If you post on one feed, you should post where ever else is relevant. Take this blog for instance… When each post is published, it shows up on my twitter feed and my Tumblr (well, it was actually posting to the wrong tumblr for awhile).

My favorite tools are the ones that are already connecting to each social media platform directly – like instagram which lets you post to several services all at once.  If you have a feed that is separated from your other accounts (I have several like Shelley_Bot, Fabric_Lover, and Vault_Dealer) that you need content posted for but don’t want to manage your feeds daily, I highly recommend automating.

I use a couple of tools to help with this – HootSuite and CrowdFire.

HootSuite is a publishing platform that allows you to schedule content. It’s simple to use and free. Yep, free. You are restricted to 3 streams to publish from in one free account but the monthly fees aren’t much. You can also get reports on the engagement with your content but only 1 is available for the free accounts.

Crowdfire is a listen and respond platform that tracks your followers. Every time you log in with your social feeds, the platform can tell you how many people followed and un-followed you. It’s kind of nice to see the results. I also use the auto-responding feature to Direct Message new twitter followers with a short note about where else to find my writing.

dragon scales

Fabric Nerdy too

I’ve always collected fabric, even before I could sew. I love the patterns and the way it drapes, so so pretty. So a long time ago, I decided I give a try to pattern design. Now whenever the bug hits me, I have a place to feature and print them. I use spoonflower, though I think many of my designs would look better hand printed. Below are some of my favorites in BLUE:

poppy abstract - blue

Retro Snow Flakes - Baby Blue

Dragon Scales - Blue

Dotted Hexagon - Blue

and oddly enough, this one is my best seller:

Spoons

I also have some of the same designs on Zazzle – if you want a pattern on a thing, let me know and I’ll post for you.

And I also tweet out fabulous indie designer patterns here: https://twitter.com/fabric_lover

I get a designer’s commission on all material sold via spoonflower and finished goods on Zazzle.

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you are my sunshine

Adobe Spark

Adobe has a new desktop design tool for all of the social media people out there. It’s called Spark – and it is super simple to work with. I’ve had to make social graphics on the fly and sometimes it is a hassle with PhotoShop to get everything assembled and the correct size. I was using Canva for awhile but since the new gig, I haven’t had a reason make social graphics yet.

The app is free but with a Creative Cloud account you can remove the Adobe Spark branding that’s afixed to the images and other output. You can log in with Facebook or Twitter to use the app instead of an Adobe Cloud account. You’ll see this if you try to remove their brand…

paid account messaging with spark

I like that the web app presents you with a few options and you can narrow to the specific platform from there.

This app also allows you to create parallax scrolling web pages and videos for posting as well. I haven’t tried the video or web page features yet, but will update this post if I do.

spark creation options

You start your social posts with a saying:

spark add text to post

Choose an image & theme:

choose theme and image in spark

and post!!

There are a ton of options to customize the graphic with:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After fooling around with all the options, here’s what I finalized on:

shine from within

You can find the image to share on the Adobe Spark Site.

Below is the first image I tried

you are my sunshine

Be forewarned – I changed this to a header graphic online from an Instagram post and the setting for the Instagram image didn’t stick – I had to reset a lot of the parameters to redo it. I couldn’t get the same exact settings again but you can see the latest version on the Adobe Spark Site.

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Fangirling: Yasunori Mitsuda

Many, many years ago a lovely little game came out called, Chrono Cross. It’s been so long that I barely remember playing it. The one piece that has stuck with me is the music and that is where Yasunori Mitsuda comes in. He is the composer of the fabulous music in the game. I listen to it often and have to say, the music in it is one of the most touching and enduring sound tracks I’ve ever heard. Even the “tense” battle music is not enough to rattle me.

I’ve mentioned that I have a horrible commute and this soundtrack is the only thing that helps me keep calm in the throws of my “why is everyone so dumb behind the wheel,” lamentations on the road. It’s very soothing music; my favorites are the main theme and the songs for the happy villages.

You might recognize some of his other music from Xenosaga, Bomberman, Mega Man Legends, or Super Smash Bros.

I highly recommend listening.